A convoy of army busses and vans arrived at the venue, as did a procession of police motorbikes.
“When the sun rises today we will say goodbye and remember him,” said Georgina Mudau, who had travelled by bus with her nephew from Musina in Limpopo.
“Mr Mandela was the king of Africa.”
Just after 7am the South African flag was hoisted to half-mast.
Thursday is the second day the anti-apartheid icon’s body will lie in state at the Union Buildings.
Mandela will be transported from One Military Hospital to the Union Buildings on a daily basis until Friday.
Members of the public were invited to line the route and form a public guard of honour while his body was being transported.
People can view the body from 8am to 5.30pm.
Mandela died at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, last Thursday, at the age of 95.
The official memorial service was held at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday, and was attended by 100 current and former heads of state and government.
He will be buried in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.